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Posts from the ‘Exercise and diet’ Category

My exercise blog has moved to Seshn.com

My exercise blog, Must Try Harder Now, is my third WordPress blog and I’ve struggled to find a suitable theme for it. I wanted something really simple, plain but attractive, so I could focus on the writing (rather than the tweaking that’s involved to make me truly satisfied with the look of the site).

To that end, it was fateful that I received a message from Seshn.com, asking if I’d like to join their community as a climbing writer. The site is currently in beta and has been designed in a magazine-type format, where blog posts which are considered interesting enough are ordered into categories by a mysterious editor. One area is climbing, another is exercise… I think you see where I’m going with this. I have set up my own blog over there and the WordPress format used is very simple, which appeals to me. Plus, anyone who has known me for any length of time knows how much I love being an early adopter (I just celebrated my seven year anniversary on Twitter – that’s a long relationship…).

So, I’ve moved Must Try Harder to sorayaleila.seshn.com and if you like exercise, I’d love it if you’d join me over there. If not, I’ll continue to share any exercise posts over here anyway, so you can pick and choose…

Must Try Harder: A reluctant runner

Photo: puuikibeach on Flickr

Are you one of those keen running types? Oh you are? Well there is absolutely nothing to see here… Move along… (For everyone else, I have blogged about my hate of running on my exercise blog.)

Must Try Harder: My First Yoga

Photo: Gamma Man on Flickr

For all those interested in exercise, over on my new exercise blog I have posted about my journey to yoga.

My exercise blog

Photo: Tara Angkor Hotel on Flickr. I know I’ve been lax in my blog posts over the last year but, honestly, I was at a loss for words. What could I possibly write about that other people would want to read? I was suffering from a kind of writer’s block which mostly extended to my personal online writing (luckily my freelance magazine work and freelance blogging was unaffected).

New year, new blog

I feel like it’s time to start the ball rolling again. To give myself direction, I made a list of my offline activities in the last year and brainstormed a few ideas for each topic. What I discovered is that my main focus outside work is exercise in varying forms, so I’ve started a blog based around my newly-found love of exercise. You can see my first blog post over at Must Try Harder. The visual aspect of the blog is still under construction, but I wanted to start writing so it will be adjusted in stages.

The Fast Diet

Photo from HealthGauge’s Flickr photostream. I’m a team player. I don’t mean that in a ‘hire me’ jargon sort of way, I genuinely mean it. I love working as part of a team. I enjoy the camaraderie you get from working in a group. So when I saw my friend Helen saying she trying a new diet, The Fast Diet, and encouraging others to take part I wanted to know more. Diets are always better when you are boosted by other people.

Why fasting?

For a very long time I tried different diets, until about five years ago when I gave up faddy dieting for good. They were hard work to maintain long term, both mentally and practically speaking, and after I stopped I just put the weight right back on. (Sound familiar?) So on Helen’s advice I watched ‘Eat, fast and live longer‘. In the programme, journalist Michael Mosley explores the idea of fasting and calorie restriction as beneficial to long-term health. There is also a book The Fast Diet, which I have now read. After much research, Michael discovered that intermittent fasting could lower your risk of cancer and diabetes, delay hereditary mental illness, help prevent heart disease and slow ageing. Oh and a byproduct is weight loss. I was intrigued and onboard. This is a diet for life, not just until you’ve lost the weight. Who wouldn’t want to improve their overall health?

How does it work?

Essentially you fast two days a week and eat normally the other five (this is why it has become known as the 5:2 diet). On your fasting days you only consume 500 calories, preferably in one or two meals in order to maximise the amount of time you fast for. On your non-fasting days you can eat what you want in whatever quantity you want. Converts of the diet say that over time you become less hungry on your non-fasting days and so you consume less on those days, too. Others have said it has made them more aware of how much they really were eating and therefore they have started to consume less on their non-fasting days. The action of fasting is supposed to kickstart your body into repair mode, so your body goes into detox clearing out all the bad stuff and doing essential maintenance on your cells so they all work more efficiently.

What is it like?

I’m just about to enter my fourth week of The Fast Diet. At the time I thought the first day of fasting was easy because of the novelty, but now I think it was almost my worst day for feeling hungry. Once I had done it on the first day, I knew it was possible to not eat for most of the day and still function absolutely fine. The big power of this diet is that you only need to make it to the next day to eat whatever it is you are craving – this makes it a million times easier than normal diets that require excluding the things you enjoy eating and drinking for long periods of time. For most of us, that is just setting us up for failure. It’s also flexible – my fasting days are Monday and Wednesday, but I could move them if a special occasion came up.

What are the downsides?

I’m normally quite a healthy eater or at least very careful about how much ‘junk food’ I consume. Since I started fasting, I have relapsed. Because I haven’t eaten the day before, I tend to binge on sugar and fat on my non-fasting days which I think will probably be reflected in my weight loss or lack thereof. I’m actually not sure if I have lost any because I haven’t weighed myself yet – I’m waiting until the one month mark – but we shall have to see… Fasting can also exacerbate previous conditions, although these are supposed to be short-lived and a response to your body repairing and cleansing of bad stuff. In my case, this means I have lots of teenage-style spots – lovely, I know.

For now, I am going to continue with The Fast Diet because the health benefits are too good to ignore. There are even early suggestions that fasting during chemotherapy could help its effectiveness. Any exciting developments along the way and I will let you know. If you are interested in diets and improving your overall health I recommend watching the TV show to start yourself off. Long term, I guess we just hope that the results speak for themselves!

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